Deep River Spring Melt (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

22 March finds me at a boat launch in the town of Deep River, Ontario, painting the Ottawa River with its pelt of velvety gray melting ice. Ringbill Gulls cry, swooping whitely across the dark hills of the Quebec side. I don't use Paynes Gray as a pigment, but that's the colour I've recreated for my underpainting - the blackish blue-green of the darker areas of river ice, rough and translucent as it softens to a blanket of slush. Evening approaches and the sky is constantly changing. I paint quickly using only one brush, a 1/2 inch angled flat, determined to finish this one onsite. Done - and I select a tiny round brush for the signature.

Fred has been walking the shore while I paint, finding Alder with open catkins, clam shells (Elliptio complanata and Lampsilis radiata), and returning with hands full of Watercress to plant at home. Now we must depart for our evening of listening for Chorus Frogs. It is 17C, so it should be a good night for the little "creakers" to be singing in full chorus.

Fred says that my painting site is between the Yacht Club and the other sewage-treatment beach where he and Jennifer explored in 1999, and where we added invasive Garlic Mustard in 2010 to the known flora of Renfrew County.


  1. The Watercress formed a dense green mat in the sandy outflow apron from a storm sewer pipe of some sort, down into a little lawn-bound bay of the river. I'd previously seen a couple of these bright green carpets, and wondered what they were. They prove to be this most delicious of invasive aliens, though one wouldn't want to consume plants from a stream of such dubious origin.

  2. As I child (in the '60's) I used to collect watercress from Cedar Creek, a creek which fed into the Ottawa a little East of where you found it. We did eat it, and apparently survived the experience. The painting is lovely, evoking many memories.


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